Matt - the cross-cultural angle
After reading the posts from cake4usg and Bumpkin I just had to register and put in my comments as well. Since I've been out of the US for most of this season, it's been hard to dig in and argue the logistics of the game and how it's going.
And a special thanks to the FORT for keeping me up to date - hopefully I'll be able to watch a few episodes on tape when I return in late May.
But I do want to address this "Matt is such an idiot, I've got him where i want him" mentality by Rob. As cake4usg and Bumpkin have notes, they think that Matt's pretty good at hiding his emotions. There is no doubt he IS a quiet, relective type who focuses on the task at hand.
But we know much more about his abilities to "blend into the woodwork" and to try to figure out what's going on from his bio! He's studied cooking in France (1 or 2 years??) and lived in Taiwan while he was learning Chinese. I believe he also lived in another country while he was growing up (discounting being born in Hing Kong).
There is probably no better training for "survival strategies" than when an adult spends expented time in antoher culture - you know, that as the foreigner in the situation, you are pretty clueless about almost EVERYTHING that is going on around you, and you often have the disadvantage of not knowing the language. So you are treated a full grown idiot, if you don't develop strategies to cope with this overload of information. As a tourist it doesn't matter that much, but when you live there it's a different story.
Now Matt has put himself in these situations time and time again - the reality is that he not only thrives in these environments, but over time they've become part of his subconscious behaviours. I'll bet he doesn't have to expend a lot of mental energy on it, just go into his "I'm the outsider here, so I'll lay low and watch" routine.
My wife (not from North America) is constantly laughing at my "strategies' (her words) for surviving now that we are living in a country foreign to both of us - she speaks the language, but is constantly surpised at how I adapt (this is the 6th country I've lived in at least a year). The trick is to WATCH and constantly redefine my perceptions of what is going on and why. Often I am wrong, but that's why my brain is processing information like crazy during the most mundane of tasks. It's become second nature to me, and the other "natives" around the table would have no clue that I'm doing it (since they don't need to, as they are perfectly comfortable and familiar with these same interactions that throw me for a curve).
This is what Bumpkin was talking about - I also jumped when I saw an earlier post that his Mom told him to loosen up, as that was the clue that he wasn't acting like "normal". I"m sure Bumpkin was entirely right.
And lets not forget that it doesn't take that much Zen to focus on the game - when the 2 - 3 person camera operator / sound engineer / assistant crew walk up to you and stick a $50,000 camera in your face (even if it happens 20 times a day), you remember why you are in the Amazon, and that you can't trust anyone.
Re: Matt - the cross-cultural angle
I agree -- great observations horsehead!
Exactly - under water Matt is paddling like mad, but on the surface he seems to be floating smoothly along.
There is probably no better training for "survival strategies" than when an adult spends expented time in antoher culture - (snip)
The trick is to WATCH and constantly redefine my perceptions of what is going on and why. Often I am wrong, but that's why my brain is processing information like crazy during the most mundane of tasks. It's become second nature to me[/B]
Maybe somewhere between day 1 and day 10 I would have supposed that Matt was clueless. By now, I think he has adapted much better (much quicker) than the others and has a firm grasp on the personalities involved.
He's in the zone. And even if he is not, I can easily see him making an immunity run from here on out.